Neighborhood business awards recognize investment in community

Photo+courtesy+Dann+Boyles

Photo courtesy Dann Boyles

Business in Grand Rapids, especially that of local small businesses, is booming. At the 25th annual Neighborhood Business Awards, held at the Wealthy Theater on Thursday, Nov. 6, a celebration was held for the innovative economic activity going on in Grand Rapids.

At this celebration, 96 local small businesses were nominated for a wide variety of awards covering renovation efforts, best long-standing business, best neighborhood restaurant, best new business and best neighborhood pint, among others.

The awards ceremony was organized by the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Business Alliance and its partner, Neighborhood Ventures, which strive to advocate and promote local businesses. Nominations for the awards were submitted by the almost two dozen neighborhood organizations in Grand Rapids.

The overall award was granted to the newly opened Rodriguez Supermarket, located at 1428 Grandville Ave in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. This full-service grocery store boasts a butcher, commercial bakery, and variety of fresh and affordable produce.

Sarah Van Timmeren, the administrative assistant for the history department at Calvin, lives in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood and is excited about the supermarket moving into the neighborhood.

“An important thing with the supermarket is that they took the time and money to really invest in the building and, in turn, the neighborhood,” she said. “And having that market there is important for the neighborhood as it gives people in the neighborhood more options to stay local, not having to drive or ride the bus to 28th Street, but the ability to walk to the local market and keep their money in the neighborhood.”

The title of Best Neighborhood Restaurant went to Brickroad Pizza, located at 1017 Wealthy in the Eastown neighborhood. Brickroad is known for its inventive pizzas as well as its extensive vegetarian offerings.

Although chain businesses have had success in the area in the past, urban revitalization is helping the growth of local businesses to invest in their surrounding neighborhood.

Rebel, a retail store specializing in unique gifts, won the Best Exterior Maintenance award. Located at 1409 Robinson in Eastown, it caters to the creative interests of the local community.

“Since we have moved our business to Eastown, we have discovered it not only to be filled with residents who really care about the area, but also it’s a vibrant tourism destination,” Dann Boyles, co-owner of Rebel, said. “We want to create a welcoming environment and think it’s important to give Grand Rapids visitors a great first impression. In the end, it’s all about details and it’s just really great to know that when we pay attention to details, people notice.”